Richard Kiely

Richard Kiely headshot

Contact Richard , (607) 254-4730


Richard Kiely currently serves as a senior fellow in the Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI). He was the inaugural director of Cornell’s Center for Community-Engaged Learning and Research (2011-2015), now the Office of Engagement Initiatives, in support of Engaged Cornell.

In his current position with OEI, he is leading an effort to evaluate and conduct research on the impact of OEI programs and university-wide activities that support Engaged Cornell. As a community-engaged scholar and practitioner, he is interested in learning about and contributing to the different ways people work together to have a positive impact on the world and the potential role of community-engaged learning and research in higher education in facilitating that process.


In 2002, Richard received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and from 2002 to 2006, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Lifelong Education, Policy and Administration at the University of Georgia, where he taught courses in community development, qualitative and community-based research, (global) service-learning, program planning and learning theory.

In 2005, he was recognized nationally as a John Glenn Scholar in Service-Learning for his longitudinal research that led to the development of a transformative service-learning model (See Kiely, 2004, 2005, 2011). Returning to Cornell in 2006, he served as the faculty director of the Cornell Urban Scholars Program (CUSP) and the Cornell Urban Mentor Initiative (CUMI), two university-wide, interdisciplinary service-learning programs that partnered undergraduate and graduate students with not-for-profit organizations in Ithaca and New York City.

In CRP, he taught qualitative research, community-based research and pre- and post-fieldwork courses in support of CUSP and CUMI. In addition, he co-taught a graduate/undergraduate service-learning course in City and Regional Planning as part of the New Orleans Planning Initiative (NOPI). The participants in this course developed a comprehensive recovery plan, in conjunction with community partners and Ninth Ward residents in New Orleans. A number of participants collaborated on a book describing their planning experience with NOPI in Rebuilding Community after Katrina: Transformative Education in the New Orleans Planning Initiative (Reardon & Forester, 2016).


Richard’s research during his time at the University of Georgia focused on adult learners in higher education with a particular focus on community-based global learning, the experience of immigrant communities and policies and practices that accommodate greater access to education. His current research focuses on student learning, faculty development, partnerships and institutional approaches in the field of community-engaged learning and research.

He continues to be an active scholar in the area of service-learning and community engagement in higher education. He serves as a reviewer and editorial board member on numerous peer-reviewed journals and served as the co-editor of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning for two special sections on global service-learning (2014/2015). He recently completed a co-authored book Community-Based Global Learning: The Theory and Practice of Ethical Engagement at Home and Abroad (2018).


Richard continues to write, consult and conduct workshops and institutes in many different areas of community-based global learning with a particular focus on transformative approaches to program and curriculum development, critical reflection, intercultural learning, community development, community-based research and evaluation.

Richard is the co-founder of a community-driven global service-learning (GSL) partnership in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, which will be entering its 25th year in 2019. In addition, Richard continues to be a field-builder in GSL and is a co-founder of, a multi-institutional hub supporting ethical global learning and community campus partnerships.